It was 10 years ago that FC Bayern Munich beat Valencia CF for the UEFA Champions League. (Incidentally, FC Bayern Munich may win again this year when it plays FC Internationale on May 22, but my money’s on Inter; the bookies agree) Also 10 years ago: the Lovebug virus wreaked havoc on the Internet. Where were you during this trying time?
The Love Bug (also known as ILOVEYOU) was one of the first widespread computer viruses of the recently modern Internet era. I’m going to define that, 100 percent arbitrarily, from 1999 onward. It’s safe to say that most people in my section of America had AOL by then. Yeah, college students, programmers, and plenty of other people had been using the Internet for some time by then, but not your average person.
Whatever, let’s not lose sight of what we’re talking about: ILOVEYOU.
Now, if you’re browsing your e-mail inbox in the year 2001 (AOL Mail, I guess) and come across an e-mail that says “ILOVEYOU” you’re going to be like, “Whoa, what’s this?”
Today, however, if you see an e-mail that says “ILOVEYOU” I should hope you’re savvy enough to know that that’s 150 percent a virus or other form of malware.
(When Hotmail was still on the drawing board, the creators were going to affix to the bottom of every e-mail the line “P.S. I love you. Try HoTMaiL for free!” Something to that effect. I don’t know, I read it in my old professor’s book.)
Telling people “ILOVEYOU” is disarming, perhaps more so than telling them they’ve won $1 million or something.